2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine
On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, marking a steep escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War, which had begun in 2014. The invasion has caused Europe's largest refugee crisis since World War II, with more than 6.2 million Ukrainians fleeing the country and a third of the population displaced.
|2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine|
|Part of the Russo-Ukrainian War|
Military situation as of 20 May 2022
Controlled by Ukraine
Occupied by Russia
For a more detailed map, see the Russo-Ukrainian War detailed map
|Commanders and leaders|
Strength estimates are as of the start of the invasion.|
See also: Order of battle for the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine
|Casualties and losses|
Reports vary widely.|
See Casualties and humanitarian impact for details.
At the start of the war in 2014, Russia annexed the south Ukrainian region of Crimea, and Russian-backed separatists seized part of the south-eastern regions of Ukraine (the Donbas; in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts), sparking a regional war. In 2021, Russia began a large military build-up along its border with Ukraine, amassing up to 190,000 troops and their equipment. In a televised address shortly before the invasion, Russian president Vladimir Putin espoused irredentist views, questioned Ukraine's right to statehood, and falsely accused Ukraine of being governed by neo-Nazis who persecute the ethnic Russian minority. Putin also said the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) constituted a threat to Russia's national security by having expanded eastward since the early 2000s, which NATO disputed. Russia demanded NATO stop expanding and permanently bar Ukraine from ever joining the alliance. Multiple nations accused Russia of planning to attack or invade Ukraine, which Russian officials repeatedly denied as late as 23 February 2022.
On 21 February 2022, Russia recognised the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic, two self-proclaimed statelets in Donbas controlled by pro-Russian separatists. The following day, the Federation Council of Russia authorised the use of military force abroad, and Russian troops overtly entered both territories. The invasion began on the morning of 24 February, when Putin announced a "special military operation" to "demilitarise and denazify" Ukraine. Minutes later, missiles and airstrikes hit across Ukraine, including the capital Kyiv, shortly followed by a large ground invasion from multiple directions. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy enacted martial law and a general mobilisation of all male Ukrainian citizens between 18 and 60, who were banned from leaving the country.
As the invasion began on 24 February 2022, the northern front launched from Belarus towards Kyiv, with a northeastern front attack on the city of Kharkiv; the southeastern front was conducted as two separate spearhead fronts, a southern front from Crimea and a separate probative southeastern front launched at the cities of Luhansk and Donetsk. On 8 April, the Russian ministry announced that all troops and divisions deployed in southeastern Ukraine would unite under General Aleksandr Dvornikov, who took charge of combined military operations, including the redeployed probative fronts originally assigned to the northern and north-eastern fronts, subsequently withdrawn and reassigned to the second phase on the southeastern front. On 19 April, Russia launched a renewed invasion across a 500 kilometres (300 mi) long front extending from Kharkiv to Donetsk and Luhansk, with simultaneous missile attacks again directed at Kyiv in the north and Lviv in western Ukraine. By 13 May, Russian troops in Kharkiv were being retracted and redeployed to other fronts in Ukraine following the advances of Ukrainian troops into Kharkiv itself, while by 18 May, Mariupol fell to Russian troops in the southeastern front following a long siege in the Azovstal iron and steel works.
The invasion was determined to be a violation of the laws of nations by the United Nations which further condemned "all violations of international humanitarian law" against the Geneva Conventions. A United Nations General Assembly resolution demanded a full withdrawal of Russian forces, the International Court of Justice ordered Russia to suspend military operations and the Council of Europe expelled Russia. Many countries imposed new sanctions, which have affected the economies of Russia and the world, and provided humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine. Protests occurred around the world; those in Russia were met with mass arrests and increased media censorship, including banning the use of the words "war" and "invasion". Numerous companies withdrew their products and services from Russia and Belarus, and Russian state-funded media were banned from broadcasting and removed from online platforms. The International Criminal Court opened an investigation into war crimes that occurred in Ukraine since the 2013–2014 Revolution of Dignity through to war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide in the 2022 invasion.